Feds tell New Orleans it's not a sanctuary city, says mayor

Chris Miller
October 12, 2017 - 12:18 pm

The U.S. Justice Department has informed New Orleans leaders that the city is in full compliance with federal immigration laws.

It comes after suggestions from Washington that New Orleans was a so-called "sanctuary city" that attempted to shield illegal immigrants from federal enforcement.

"As we have maintained for years, the Department of Justice has confirmed that we are in full compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement released today. "Under my Administration, the New Orleans Police Department has and will continue to follow all federal laws; however, the NOPD will not be the federal government’s deportation force."

City leaders have long maintained that fostering a good relationship between the police department and immigrant communities will help keep the city safer. Requiring New Orleans Police to demand information about immigration status, local officials argued, would only lead to immigrants fearing and mistrusting police, rather than cooperating with them.

The Trump administration in April named New Orleans in a list of cities it had concerns about in regards to immigration law. The president cities deemed "sanctuary cities" by the Justice Department would lose law enforcement grants.

Landrieu wanted to add his own clarification to the Justice Department's notification that New Orleans is in compliance:

"The Department of Justice failed to note in its letter sent to me today that Chapter 41.6.1, Paragraph 5 of the NOPD’s operation manual states that officers are to follow Section 1373(a), and that the policy does 'not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, [ICE] information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.' As such, we continue to state unambiguously that Chapter 41.6.1 does not restrict officers and employees from requesting information regarding immigration status from federal immigration officers. Pursuant to standard training procedures, all officers and employees were notified about the policy in September 2016. Instead of fear-mongering and false accusations, we urge you to work with mayors across the nation to tackle violent crime through smart, evidence-based policing"

Click here to read the mayor's and New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison's letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Click here for a legal opinion that New Orleans in full compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373.

Click here for section of the NOPD's operations manual relevant to immigration status.

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